Blog on SELMA Movie as an Elderly Black Man Sees It

This post is in response to Dean LeAnn Snow Flesher’s essay on SELMA.


Lyndon Baines Johnson called us Niggers to our face if we were white house employees. Read how Fannie Lou Hamer, a share cropper of the Mississippi Freedom Party, refused to allow him to disgrace her. GOOGLE THE STORY. See the movie The Butler. It is hard for even the liberals to see a strong free thinking black male like Dr. King say no to the president of the country, whom is a political deal maker of political expediency rather than an ethicist with a respect for intrinsic human values.  THE MORAL BANKRUPCTY OF GOVERNMENT epitomized in the a-morality of the FBI is true elephant blindness for those who are in denial of epistemological blindness of racism that legalized white supremacy using the white church and the oppressive white Jesus, and the anthropological arguments of white biological superiority taught in prestigious universities.

The refusal of the recognized scholars of academic privilege who control what is acceptable and unacceptable to avoid mentioning the rich uniqueness of the black church as a paradigm for community organizing. Neither the white missionary efforts nor the liberal white theological academy taught black people effective community organizing or radical theological reflection. These preachers were the children of black religion pioneers such as Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, and many others whose names dis-appear on the syllabi of prestigious ATS professors. These unknown black spiritual predecessors of Selma forged a faith rooted in a fervent black worship tradition of preaching, praying, and singing that produced leadership in Selma, Memphis, and Montgomery.

Selma is only an eye opener for blind people touching a different part of the elephant by the narrow parameters of their social location by reminding them that humanity is a greater universalism than white exclusivism of manifest destiny and exceptionalism. When people like Pastor James Reeb were savagely bloodied, and beaten to death, followed by other white people of all faiths and good will, then and only after the shedding of precious white blood for black lives that mattered were the blind folds temporally lifted from the oligarchy: the power intoxicated and greedy, immoral power brokers who buy elections and reluctantly change public policy practice. I WRITE FROM THE RELATIVITY OF REFLECTION AND LIFE.

Dr. J Alfred Smith, Sr.
Pastor Emeritus, Allen Temple Baptist Church
Professor Emeritus, American Baptist Seminary of the West